EMPAC Groundbreaking on Sept. 19
President Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer trustees and administrators, and community leaders will gather to break ground for the new $141.7 million Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC). The event will take place on Friday, Sept. 19, noon to 1 p.m., at Folsom Library. The Rensselaer community is invited to attend; a reception will follow. EMPAC will enable Rensselaer students, faculty, and the whole community to explore and experience the nexus of research, technology and the performing arts, where they will discover new opportunities for creativity and discovery, according to EMPAC Director Johannes Goebel. He expects EMPAC to be a prime research and presentation facility, and an intellectual force on the Rensselaer campus and beyond. EMPAC will offer artists, researchers, and audiences opportunities that are available nowhere else under a single roof. The new building will house a 1,200-seat concert hall, designed to the highest standards for performance and listening, and a 400-seat theater with a 80-foot-by-40-foot stage and fly-tower capability. It will also include a 3,500-square-foot black-box studio with a 40-foot high ceiling optimized for theater, dance and visual presentations, spanning from multi-screen to virtual immersive environments. EMPAC will incorporate acoustical properties, artistic lighting, and technologically adaptable performance spaces to support visualization, simulation, and animation studies. EMPAC also will support a 2,500-square-foot black-box studio with a 28-foot ceiling optimized for music and multimedia performances; a 1,400-square-foot rehearsal and dance studio, four studios for artists-in-residence; professional-level recording, editing, and post-production facilities for audio and video; and digital broadcasting facilities for Rensselaer's student radio station WRPI.